So the Rugby World Cup 2007 has finally ended with Jake White's South Africa restoring sanity to the world rugby order. The tournament results have been wildly unpredictable yet the same cannot be said for the state of play on the field. As the poll (now closed) above reveals - people were right when they thought this Rugby World Cup would be won on defence (and the boot). Attacking rugby and scoring tries are out. Attrition, percentages and the ever enduring drop goal have proven once again that this how you win knockout tournaments. The media around the world are already labelling this as probably the most boring Rugby World Cup final ever.
But a win is a win and South Africa are deserved winners for 2007. Their lineout was magnificent and man for man they were always going to be the better team on the pitch compared to a resurgent (but ultimately unimaginative England). With ten minutes on the clock to go in this game it was a given (before the match even began) that England were not going to be able to score a try to get themselves out of the swamp. Three penalties (or drop goals) against this South African team in the dying minutes was a challenge too far for the red roses. In saying that, I don't want to take anything away from England's effort. They were the team with the hardest march to this Rugby World Cup final and have given the world a few lessons in how to get there. I don't wish to sound ungracious towards them because their spirit was something to behold. But if winning ugly is what it will take next time, I'm picking there will be a few more teams in future that if they put their minds to it, can match the English when it comes to suffocating the living bejesus out of the game.
The big highlight of the weekend (if you're not a Bok supporter) was the fantastic game Argentina took to a passionless France. Argentina have played conservative rugby all tournament but going against their normal game plan for a change and playing with the ball in hand, they provided the true spectacle of the weekend (if you favour your games mixed up a bit) and ended up thrashing a hapless French outfit that had no answers. It only has to be a matter of a time before they come on board to the Tri Nations. I hope it is sooner rather than later.
More to come in the next couple of days with a tournament wrap and a look to the future. Plus updated Rugby World Cup IRB rankings. South Africa sit proudly at the top of the table now with New Zealand second and England third.